Saturday, November 17, 2012
To understand Bataille’s notion of the gift, however, it is first necessary to see his conception of sacrifice and then how that relates to the gift. In a rational economy goods and production are either designated for meeting the general life needs of the populace or for the process of growth. All production then is designed with the future in mind, as part of a process of growth and expansion in which all objects are pre-ordained and understood as means towards the end, of the future telos of the economy. “The subject leaves its own domain and subordinates itself to the objects of the real order as soon as it becomes concerned for the future.” In the ritual destruction of material in the form of sacrifice, however, these goods are removed from that process, from that orientation towards a future telos. They are no longer seen as objects directed towards the use of the overall cultural system, but are seen in and of themselves, free of utilitarian domination.from a paper by David L.R. Kosalka
Symbolically, along with the object itself, the one who offers the sacrifice is seen as removed from the demands of utility and consequently as possibly a sovereign subject. Those who offer the sacrifice are not completely dominated by the needs of the system or the process, but, rather, can exist free of their constraints in the moment of the sacrifice.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Before the florid portico
I watched the gamblers come and go,
While by me on a bench there sat
A female in a faded hat;
A shabby, shrinking, crumpled creature,
Of waxy casino-ward with eyes
Of lost soul seeking paradise.
Then from the Café de la Paix
There shambled forth a waiter fellow,
Clad dingily, down-stooped and grey,
With hollow face, careworn and yellow.
With furtive feet before our seat
He came to a respectful stand,
And bowed, my sorry crone to greet,
Saying: "Princess, I kiss your hand."
She gave him such a gracious smile,
And bade him linger by her side;
So there they talked a little while
Of kingly pomp and country pride;
Of Marquis This and Prince von That,
Of Old Vienna, glamour gay. . . .
Then sad he rose and raised his hat:
Saying: "My tables I must lay."
"Yea, you must go, dear Count," she said,
"For luncheon tables must be laid."
He sighed: from his alpaca jacket
He pressed into her hand a packet,
"Sorry, to-day it's all I'm rich in -
A chicken sandwich from the kitchen."
Then bowed and left her after she
Had thanked him with sweet dignity.
She pushed the package out of sight,
Within her bag and closed it tight;
But by and bye I saw her go
To where thick laurel bushes grow,
And there behind that leafy screen,
Thinking herself by all unseen,
That sandwich! How I saw her grab it,
And gulp it like a starving rabbit!
Thinks I: Is all that talk a bluff -
Their dukes and kings and courtly stuff:
The way she ate, why one would say
She hadn't broken fast all day.
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet.
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.
- William Butler Yeats